Dietary fibers, such as pectins, are blended in liquid diets (LDs) to prevent diarrhea; however, which type of pectin is more effective, along with its mechanism of action, remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the gelling characteristics, fermentability, fecal properties, and motility of the colon during the administration of LDs blended with pectins.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered LDs containing high-methoxy pectin (HM), low-methoxy amidated pectin (LMA), low-methoxy pectin (LM), and very low-methoxy amidated pectin (VLMA) ad libitum. The amount of pectin in the feces was assessed by measuring galacturonic acid content. The contractile motility of the rats’ descending colons was measured with a force transducer.
HM was well fermented, but VLMA was significantly less fermented. LM and LMA displayed intermediate fermentability. An LD that contained LM and VLMA gelled with calcium ions in artificial gastric juice did not cause diarrhea, as opposed to other pectin types. Contractile motility was significantly lower and stools were looser when pectin or calcium was excluded from the LD.
In the colon, LM or VLMA could form a water-holding gel with calcium ions to produce normal feces. The mechanical stimulation of the formed fecal mass might induce physiological colonic contractions.

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